|Volume LVII||August 2010||Number 3|
Good Deeds, Indeed
With the arrival of warm weather throughout the state, came countless opportunities for Masons and lodges to serve their neighbors, friends and communities. From sharing home-grown produce with friends, to cleaning up cemeteries and roadways, to removing fallen trees and mowing lawns for neighbors who cannot, Masons in Pennsylvania are serving their communities in various practical ways. The next generation is being impacted as lodges support local sports teams, Masons install basketball backboards at schools, speakers conduct worship services and men serve as Boy Scout and DeMolay leaders. Through all of these deeds, people are learning who Freemasons are and the values for which we stand.
Random Acts of Kindness
Throughout Pennsylvania, many Masons are performing random acts of kindness, and some of them are even inviting and inspiring others to join them as they serve people in need.
For the past seven to eight years, Bro. Joseph A. Cirilo, P.M., King David Lodge No. 763, Kingston, and his family have volunteered twice a month at the West Side Food Pantry located at the Church of Christ Uniting in Kingston. The food pantry operates every Tuesday and Thursday and provides meals for about 35 families each day it is open. During Easter and Christmas, families receive baskets of food which include a turkey or ham. "There was a time in our lives when we were down and out after an accident, and we needed a helping hand. Now that we're a little better off, we want to do what we can to help others who need it," Bro. Cirilo said. This regular act of kindness has 1been teaching his children since they were young that community service is important, and now his son has joined DeMolay. "As a Freemason, I've seen how a random act of kindness or a small helping hand can make all the difference in the world," Bro. Cirilo said.
Bro. Thomas Morgan, Concord Lodge No. 625, Concordville, and his wife, Patricia, walk almost every afternoon along a path near the local high school baseball fields, often stopping to watch the games. The fields are near a wooded area, and baseballs have a habit of finding themselves in the underbrush. Since the fields were built about five years ago, Bro. and Mrs. Morgan have altered their normal walking route to travel through the woods in order to pick up baseballs which they return to the teams. The couple turns up anywhere from two to 15 balls during their walks, which saves the teams from needing to purchase new ones. "The coaches know us, that I'm a Mason with commendable character, and are not surprised by our act of kindness," Bro. Morgan said. He describes acts of kindness as dominoes. His little act may inspire someone else to extend a helping hand and so on. Indirectly, his small gesture has improved dozens of lives.
An older gentleman was seated, tired and distressed when Bro. Sean Dalnodar, Royersford Lodge No. 585, spotted him on an evening walk in April. The man was a disabled veteran, and after introductions, Bro. Dalnodar realized that the hero was lost and had been trying for several hours to find his way back to his assisted living home. With darkness closing in, Bro. Dalnodar got a vehicle and a neighbor who knew where the assisted living home was located, and together they took the man home. "This wasn't a huge act of kindness, especially when you compare it to the sacrifices he and his fellow veterans made for our country, but we were proud to help him in this small way, nonetheless," Bro. Dalnodar said.
Bro. James Percy, Stephen Bayard Lodge No. 526, Elizabeth, is using his business, Vocelli Pizza, to impact his community with the gift of food. He and his employees seek out organizations on a weekly basis which could benefit from pizzas, breadsticks, pasta or anything else the restaurant serves. "I like to give food, in the summer, to a group of kids in Clairton from the day care center ... It seems like they don't get surprises like that often," Bro. Percy said. "They always clap and jump around. I wish I could do that every day." His business has donated food to church groups, the local Lions Club, Sister's Place, Inc., the Clairton Family Center, parents raising money for their child with cancer and other organizations. "It is easier for us to give food rather than money because we buy our food wholesale, and by donating food, we are offsetting the community groups' expenses,"Bro. Percy said.
Bro. William Horn, Steelton-Swatara Lodge No. 775, Steelton, saw a man with a broken- down truck on the side of the highway, so he put on work gloves and changed the man's flat tire. The man, weak from illness, offered Bro. Horn $20 for the favor. The brother graciously refused, and took the opportunity to explain why completing good deeds was his duty as a Mason. The man thanked Bro. Horn and the fraternity for his kind actions. "This man had the deep look of gratitude in his eyes. It was beyond just a 'thank you;' it was genuine gratitude," Bro. Horn said.
"No amount of thanks, no amount of money, can make me feel as good as the genuine feeling of goodwill and gratitude that a person gives you when you simply give him a hand."
On July 3, Bro. Jim Dillow, Howell Lodge No. 405, Honey Brook, arrived home from Smithers, W.V., after a week of building sturdy houses and strong youth. The trip, organized through the Pennsylvania Area Christian Association (PACE) and local churches, gives West Virginia homeowners the opportunity to purchase supplies to fix up their houses while receiving free labor from the 72 youth and their leaders at the camp, as well as students from the Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALS). If the homeowners cannot afford the supplies, the government can provide assistance. The church groups take their own tools and pay for their food and lodging while they work.
"It's a service to the community and it's also what God wants us to do," Bro. Dillow, who has made the trip for eight years, said. "The people who we go down there and see the next year are so thankful!"
Community Service Through Lodges
"Following our Right Worshipful Grand Master's directive to get our name in the public eye, we thought that we would volunteer to supply the labor and paint to repair the badly damaged kids' pool (in West Pittston), and do any other repair jobs that needed to be done," Bro. Cataldo Garzella, P.M., J.W., Valley Lodge No. 499, West Pittston, said. When members presented the idea at a council meeting, the request was answered by a standing ovation. The lodge picked up keys to the pool and began a two-month process of multiple power-washings, cement removal, cement patching, two acid washes, a neutralizing process and painting.
After about 300 hours of work by Masons and some family members, renovations to other areas of the pool (such as the women's bathroom), the pool was ready for children to enjoy during the summer. "It was a lot of hard work, but we had a lot of fun," Bro. Garzella said.
In June, Lewistown Lodge No. 203 presented a check for $300 to Lewistown High School graduate Kate Fisher. She will use the money to help purchase a service dog which will assist her in the fall when she attends Edinboro University to study psychology. Having the service dog will remove many of the barriers that she could face in her new surroundings.
Presenting the check to Kate are Bros. Leonard Nadolny, W.M.; Douglas Koch, S.W.; and Mark Laub, J.W.
In March, members of Kane Lodge No. 566 gathered at Bro. Dan Jordan's machine shop to help him make trophies for Pinewood Derby competitions held in Kane among the local Cub Scout packs. Bro. Harry Whittemore picked up and planed the wood, and together, the brethren sanded, stained and assembled 58 trophies. The wooden trophies had lettering etched into them, a place to attach the winning pack's patch and slots in the base so the Cub Scouts' Pinewood Derby car could sit in the trophy as a permanent memento of the event. Altogether, the trophies took 75 hours of work to complete. "The brethren were very involved and enjoyed the time spent in helping make a difference for a very worthy group in our community," Bro. Richard Bence said.
Members of Canawacta Lodge No. 360, Susquehanna, recently hosted a 100th anniversary chicken BBQ dinner for the local Boy Scouts. During the event, 108-year-old Bro. Ira Reynolds was honored for his 90 years of service to the Boy Scouts. He received his 50-Year Service Award to Freemasonry in 2002, at age 100.
The Paxtang Borough hosted its first-ever Patriot Camp for a week beginning July 2. The camp, conceived by councilwoman Debra Seneca, wife of Bro. James Capp, Robert Burns Lodge No. 464, Harrisburg, taught children about flag etiquette, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. To round out the educational experience, the borough asked Masons from the Valley of Harrisburg AASR to dress up as founding fathers. With less than two weeks notice, the Masons began to research their characters and visited with 60 youth and their counselors for three hours. The kids were enthralled with the opportunity to meet these distinguished leaders and to ask questions. Local television and newspaper coverage was extensive. A favorite question directed to George Washington was, "Did you really have to eat your shoes at Valley Forge?"
The "Founding Fathers" included: Bro. John Austin as George Washington, Bro. Ken Beard, P.D.D.G.M., as Benjamin Franklin, Bro. James Capp as James Madison and Bro. and State Senator Jeffrey Piccola as Thomas Jefferson, all of Robert Burns Lodge No. 464, Harrisburg; Bro. S. Eugene Herritt, D.D.G.M., Cumberland Valley Lodge No. 315, Shippensburg, as John Adams; Bro. Randy C. Knapp, Lowther Manor Lodge No. 781, Camp Hill, as Sam Adams; Bro. Richard Auchey, Patmos Lodge No. 348, Hanover, as John Hancock; Bro. David W. Berry, Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, as Rev. George Whitefield; and prospective member Mike Anderson as Paul Revere.
Bro. Charles Lord, P.M., Brotherhood Lodge No. 126, Philadelphia, was wandering through a thrift store when he spotted a power wheelchair in excellent condition. He spent the next hours calling the executive committee of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon Forest, of which he is the Grand Tall Cedar. The committee decided that purchasing a chair that would normally cost about $1,500 for only $270 was a more than proper use of funds. The Forest e-mailed its primary charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), which responded that the MDA Equipment Loan Program could benefit from the chair. This program consists of a warehouse of medical equipment and technicians. As families' medical needs are identified, the MDA Equipment Loan Program can assist until a permanent solution is found. On March 30, Main Line Forest No. 153 of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon presented the power wheelchair to the MDA. The process sparked an interest in continuing to acquire and donate medical equipment to the association and other worthy programs.
Bro. Charles Lord, Melanie Parks, Page McKonly and Ben Ovadia
Every Labor Day, Bluestone Lodge No. 338, Hallstead, has set up tables, tents and signs at a local rest stop to hand out free coffee, soda, hot dogs, candy, baked goods and snacks for donations. On average, the fund raiser brings in $3,000 to $4,000 in donations for charity. Besides providing important funding for the charities, the event makes hundreds of people aware of Freemasonry and shows the impact it has on the community.
People picking up snacks at the rest stop
On the first day of trout season, the members of Oasis Lodge No. 416, Edinboro, staged the Third Annual Kids' Fishing Contest at Mallory Run, a special location where adults are not allowed to fish, but they may help their children fish without a fishing license. Each year, about 75 children up to age 12 participate with the help of their parents and more than a dozen brethren. Thanks to donors such as Bro. Dave Fulford and Bro. Al Doré, children won quality prizes, such as fishing rods and reels, for the longest fish in three age groups. This year's overall winner was a 5-year-old with a 15-inch trout!
"This event affords the community, especially the parents of the participants, an opportunity to see how Freemasons give of their time and talents to organize the contest, measure fish, serve coffee and generally make an already fun day even more enjoyable for the kids involved," Bro. Peter Kraus, P.M., said. "We're hopeful that some of these parents may like what they see and may desire to connect themselves with our fraternity!"
Bro. Bill Temple awards the first prize in the 10 to 12 age
group to Dave Ingalls, an Edinboro area resident.
On July 12, several members of Westmoreland Lodge No. 518, Greensburg, volunteered at the local Hunger Garden near Madison, Pa. The Hunger Garden is the creation of the Shaver family, who donates more than 10 acres of farmland to grow crops for the Westmoreland County Food Bank. Each Monday evening, volunteers weed, plant, harvest and tie tomato plants, which is what the members of the lodge did that evening. Worshipful Master Robert S. Metcalfe, P.M., has pledged for the lodge to continue its service through October, when the garden's harvest will be completed for this year. Afterward, the members shared refreshments and fellowship at a local restaurant.
Brethren of Westmoreland Lodge No. 518 after volunteering at Hunger Garden
Supporting the Masonic Villages
To stress the importance of individual lodges' support of the Masonic Villages, Bro. Dan Carlisle, W.M., Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, asked the question, "If we can't take care of our own, what good are we?" Throughout the state, lodges are answering that question by donating funds to the Masonic Villages, and some lodges located near a village are stepping up in even more personal ways.
On May 1, Robert Burns Lodge No. 464, Harrisburg, hosted its 7th Annual Golf Outing. The event began as a way of encouraging fraternal fellowship, but this year, the lodge decided to make it into a fund raiser benefiting the Masonic Villages and Toys for Tots. Twenty- four people gathered for a morning of golfing, competitions and raffles, followed by a picnic lunch. Each participant received a brochure about Freemasonry. The golf outing raised $600, which was split between the two charities. "Supporting our Masonic Charities is a fundamental part of being a Freemason in Pennsylvania," Bro. Michael McGinnis, W.M., said. "As for having this event also benefit a community- and military- based charity, we - as Freemasons - are deeply concerned with our communities and with those who serve this great country."
Members of Robert Burns Lodge plan to raise more money for the Masonic Villages this year and actively engage in the lives of residents at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. Their financial contributions through the Grand Master's plan are in addition to the lodge's three-year commitment to raise $15,000 for another Tree of Life at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. The lodge made its final $5,000 payment toward the commitment earlier this year.
Golfers participating in Robert Burns Lodge No. 464's 7th Annual Golf Outing
When Bro. Carlisle first announced the Grand Master's call for lodges to financially support the Masonic Villages at Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682's meeting, lodge members donated the money on that very day. Since then, the lodge has gone above and beyond its call of duty to provide for the needs of adult and youth residents as well as employees and their families. "The partnership among the village, the lodges and the community makes us all stronger," Bro. Carlisle said. The lodge considers the people at the Masonic Village to be family.
When one of the teens at the Masonic Children's Home had the opportunity to travel to Belize, Treichler Lodge gave her $500. When an LPN, a single mother, needed additional funds to pay for her gifted daughter's school tuition, the lodge provided $1,000. In both scenarios, the members pledged to provide additional support if the mother and teen needed it. The lodge has purchased at least two Broda chairs, specially designed chairs for residents with little to no mobility, at $2,800 each. The lodge also coordinated with the Masonic Children's Home to create a bike program so each child has access to a safe and well-cared-for bicycle
Beyond financial support, in 2010, lodge members also began showing up early to lodge so they could help transport brothers from the Masonic Health Care Center to lodge meetings. "I think it's awfully rewarding," Bro. Carlisle said. "Part of our fraternity is fellowship, and I'm honored and humbled to have them attend with us."
Officers of Treichler Lodge No. 682 who served as hosts and servers for the District 36 dinner
On June 21, 31 brethren and ladies from the 36th Masonic District travelled by bus to dine and meet with 24 brethren and ladies residing at the Masonic Village during their third annual visit to Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown. District 36 includes Chester Lodge No. 236; George Bartram-Paul Sand Lodge No. 298, Media; Prospect Lodge No. 578; Concord Lodge No. 625, Prospect Park; Penn Lodge No. 709, Concordville; Lansdowne Lodge No. 711; and Springfield-Hanby Lodge No. 767, Springfield.
The program for the evening included a pre-meeting dinner for brethren of the 36th Masonic District and their ladies residing at Masonic Village at Elizabethtown and the Past Masters of Treichler Lodge and their ladies. The officers of Treichler Lodge, along with young men from the DeMolay, served as waiters for the catered dinner. Following dinner, all brethren attended Treichler Lodge's Stated Meeting where Past Masters were honored. During the meeting, the ladies enjoyed an interesting "chalk-talk." The evening was capped with Treichler Lodge's annual strawberry and ice cream reception.
Brethren and ladies of District 36 dine with Masonic Village residents.
In other areas of the state, lodges are showing their dedication to the Masonic Villages in personal ways. On May 16, the members of Philadelphia-Potter Lodge No. 72, Philadelphia, held their 113th consecutive Memorial Day Service at Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill. The theme this year was "Jesus my Redeemer." Bro. Charles J. Andrews, P.M., drove from the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown with his wife and a friend to speak at the service. Lodge Secretary Bro. Joseph W. Capone, P.M., printed the prayer booklet and helped Bro. Andrews conduct the service. Afterward, Bro. Frederick E. Ryan, P.M., and Bro. Kevin F. Carroll, P.M., and his lady prepared a dessert table with homemade chocolate-covered strawberries and bundt cakes.
Following the social, Bro. James E. McGurn, W.M., took all the brethren and their ladies to the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery for lunch.
Bro. Joseph W. Capone, P.M., Secretary, (gold Jacket)
and Bro. Charles J. Andrews, P.M., bow their heads in prayer.
To take the words of Bro. Lord: "Brethren, as we have been instructed before, 'Go forth and do good works!'"
As you do those good works, take the time to record them on the Random Acts of Kindness Registry at www.pagrandlodge.org/rak. Making a submission is easy; just click on "Submit a Random Act of Kindness or a Community Service Initiative" and fill in the fields that appear. Once you are done, click the button "Add Your Report to the Registry," and you will see your submission within several days.
No matter how noteworthy or insignificant you may think they are, your random acts of kindness will provide inspiration to others. It will help to foster the bond of brotherhood between men who have never even met. Together, through Random Acts of Kindness and Lodge Community Service Initiatives, we can show the world that Masons in Pennsylvania embody the principles of charity and service and provide hope and encouragement to those whose paths we cross.
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